Monday, October 03, 2005

A Family of Poems


Last week, I saw Caroline Kennedy when she was in town for her new book "A Family of Poems." She spoke to a packed house. People mostly my own age or older in the crowd.

I thought her both elegant and charming. Such a strong passion for words. Listening to her, it was obvious it was such a family trait. She spoke often of both their grandmother and mother.

It was almost uncanny how much I felt at ease listening to her. Then it hit me. She was that last link to that time when I really felt this country was blessed with a wealth of hope. I think the stark reality of the present day slapped me open handedly across the face as I walked out of the event.

The book itself is a wonderful collection of some of her and brother John's favorite poems growing up. The family had an scrapbook that they placed poems in for special events.. Birthdays and Christmas along with sketches they did to go with the poems they had copied. These poems and their memories have no doubt been a source of strength and happy thoughts that she treasures today. She recounted one of John's favorites: "Careless Willie" - Willie with a thirst for gore / Nailed his sister to the door / Mother said with humor quaint / "Careful, Willie, don't scratch the paint!" She was just certain he had her in mind when he proudly cam up with this poem.

Today, as a mother, she continues the tradition with her own three children. Rose, 17; Tatiana, 15, and John, 12, add their poems to the same scrapbook kept by her mother.

Caroline remains a very public person as well. She has dedicated so much energy to literacy programs and she has been a firm believer that poetry has such a positive impact on people. She has successfully helped raise millions of dollars for literacy programs.

As for the book itself... A wonderful collection - amazingly adaptable to both children and adults. The watercolor artwork by Jon J. Muth is delightful.
I was fortunate to be able to get my copy autographed by Caroline
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